5 World Cup Stadiums Are Behind Schedule in Brazil

PHOTO: Manaus old stadium the Vivaldao, was demolished in 2010 to make way for a brand new World Cup stadium, called the Arena Amazonia. The new stadium is one of five World Cup venues in Brazil where construction work is behind schedule.

Brazil has already tripled the amount of money that it planned to spend on World Cup stadiums. It now looks like several of these venues have seriously fallen behind schedule.

That is what Aldo Rebelo, Brazil's Sports Minister, suggested on Tuesday during a hearing at that country's senate.

Speaking to a commission that is looking into progress on World Cup plans, Rebelo called on contractors and local governments who are building stadiums to speed things up by hiring more workers and more machinery.

"We have the resources to meet our targets. But that will require us to speed up the current rhythm that we are working at," Rebelo said.

"If you are going to work with one piece of equipment, use two. And if you are hiring one worker for a shift, hire two instead. Construction work has to intensify," the minister added.

Brazil's twelve World Cup stadiums are supposed to be completed by December so that engineers have enough time to test equipment, and run practice matches in the stadiums. That would allow them to test things like how long it takes crowds to enter and exit these venues.

Six stadiums are already complete, and were actually given a test run during the recent Confederations Cup. But only one of the six stadiums that are currently under construction looks like it will be ready for December.

Rebelo did not specify which stadiums are doing worst. But Brazilian media reported that progress is slowest at the stadium in Manaus, a city of around 1.7 million people that lies in the middle of the Amazon basin and has never really had any modern stadiums on its soil. Manaus' most well-known soccer club, Nacional, currently plays in Brazil's fourth division.

The other stadiums that have seriously fallen behind schedule are located in Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Natal and Cuiaba, a western city of 500,000 people whose best team plays in Brazil's third division.

Rebelo said that accelerating construction work should not lead to more cost overruns, but will only force contractors to spend their money faster. With the tab for stadiums already running at $3.6 billion, Brazilians will be watching closely to see if he's right.

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